Abrams on slavery reparations: We've spent 150 years 'avoiding the obligations of our nation'

Abrams is one of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's potential running mates

Updated: July 15, 2020 - 11:24pm

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Stacey Abrams, former Democratic leader of the Georgia House and potential 2020 vice presidential candidate, said on Wednesday that the American public has been "ignoring the conversation" around reparations for African-American descendants of slaves and "avoiding the obligations of our nation" for too long. 

Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate have introduced a bill that would create a reparations commission to "examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies" to the federal government.

Abrams, who supports reparations, was asked how she would want them implemented.

"I think that's the point of the commission because we have spent more than 200 years ignoring the conversation; 150 years of avoiding the obligations of our nation and we know that despite the end of Jim Crow in 1965, that its remnants precluded access to economic and educational advancement for African-Americans for years," Abrams said on a conference call organized by the Georgia Democratic Party, ahead of President Trump visiting the state later in the day.

"The beginning of any legitimate conversation is a study," she continued. "It is to understand not only the impacts but the consequences and that is what this commission will do. I strongly support the commission. I strongly support a real investigation that also includes a public conversation about the systemic racism and systemic inequities faced by blacks in the United States of America."

Abrams said the reparations study should go beyond slavery.

"We have to look at the through line not simply slavery, which is the grotesque history and legacy of the United States, but we also have to look at the legal impediments that were put in place to block access to capital to housing, to education, and to advancement in this country. And so I believe this commission will do what we unfortunately have avoided doing in this country for too long," she said.

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